Thursday 11 January 2024

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar


Christmas Eve 2023


Inside me, December cold, 

sun going down by four, dark 

as midnight by five. Across the sky 

tonight the moon and a single star. 

My son tells me it’s Jupiter, 

and though I cannot see, I know 

an eternal storm rages red 

above a surface made of gas. 

My house trembles with the miracle 

of it all, those huge bodies hurtling 

around the sun. Down the road, 

a farmer sells Christmas trees, 

either pre-cut in various sizes, 

or a grove from which you can 

cut your own. Seven houses 

out of ten have Christmas lights, 

pretty reds and blues and greens, 

a few white, an occasional hideous 

blowup of snowmen or Santas. 

The air smells of peppermint. 

Smoke streams from the chimney 

next door. The TV says snow, 

maybe a foot this weekend, 

maybe just rain. 

I’ve been sitting here waiting 

for you to return, this time of year

being your favourite, even though 

you hate the cold. Your mother 

baked for days, Ischler Platzchen,  

Vanilliekipferl. Always a live carp 

in the bathtub, four-handed piano 

with your father’s musical friend,

candles burning on the tree

so it’s a wonder the house didn’t ignite 

and leave you homeless. 

Will memory drive you back this year,

even as the world plunges toward oblivion again?






I touched your hand in the dark, or in a dream.

Somehow you were back, having sailed the black river, 

having climbed with your ancient feet touching 

the ground as you counted every step. 

You came carrying food, a sack of green grapes, 

a loaf cake nobody likes but me.

Even as your breath whistled from dry lips, 

I knew you wanted a drink, vodka straight and chilled. 

Who did you leave in that other world, where time 

dissolves into smoke and ash? 

We might have been friends long ago, 

but I’ve forgotten what hangs behind your eyes.

It saddens me to know I never felt that you were gone.





This room filled with friends, 

girls singing in harmony, 

potatoes frying, Cream cake in the fridge, 

tall man leading a wild, stomping dance 

near the entryway. Outside, snow falling 

since noon, cars buried in the driveway. 

Nobody going anywhere tonight, 

but lots of food, lots of wine, lots of  room. 

Tomorrow we’ll dig out after a long, 

late breakfast. Tonight we celebrate, 

candlelight bathes our table with flickering stars.

Steve Klepetar lives in the Shire (Berkshire County, in Massachusetts, that is). His work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. He is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Family Reunion and The Li Bo Poems.


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